Team Aqua by a point; Team CEEREF by a point

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

The fi­nal day of the RC44 Val­letta Cup brought sun, but the wind never filled in enough to al­low the fi­nal races to be sailed, de­spite the 10 boat fleet ven­tur­ing out on to the wa­ter. And so the fi­nal event of the year and the re­sult­ing RC44 Fleet Rac­ing Cham­pi­onship have once again con­cluded with im­pos­si­bly close re­sults.

With Satur­day’s po­si­tions stand­ing, Chris Bake’s Team Aqua won the RC44 Val­letta Cup by a point from Igor Lah’s Team CEEREF. But with a two point ad­van­tage go­ing into this fi­nal event, Team CEEREF claimed the over­all RC44 Fleet Rac­ing Cham­pi­onship ti­tle for 2016 by a point from Team Aqua.

Be­ing the long­est-stand­ing teams in the RC44 class, it is ap­pro­pri­ate that Team Aqua and Team CEEREF should dom­i­nate the fleet rac­ing in this 10th an­niver­sary sea­son for the Rus­sell Coutts-in­spired one de­signs.

As Team Nika man­aged in 2015, so this year Team CEEREF scored the cov­eted ‘dou­ble’: Vic­tory in the over­all sea­son cham­pi­onship as well as the World Cham­pi­onship, this year held in So­togrande, Spain.

In fact this year’s World Cham­pi­onship re­sults proved crit­i­cal to the out­come of the sea­son for the two teams. In cal­cu­lat­ing the RC44 Fleet Rac­ing Cham­pi­onship fi­nal re­sults, each team is per­mit­ted one dis­card, but this ex­cludes the World Cham­pi­onship, which must count. While Team CEEREF’s could dis­card its worse re­sult – a sixth place in Portsmouth, Team Aqua was un­able to shed its sixth place at the So­togrande World Cham­pi­onship. Had this been pos­si­ble, they would have fin­ished the 2016 Cham­pi­onship one point ahead of their Slove­nian ri­vals.

In his first full sea­son in the class, Alexan­der Novoselov’s Ka­tusha fin­ished a cred­itable third in the RC44 Val­letta Cup, but this still left the Rus­sian team three points clear of the fi­nal step of the podium in the 2016 cham­pi­onship. This was taken by Tor­b­jörn Törn­qvist’s Artemis Rac­ing, win­ner of the RC44 Cas­cais Cup in Septem­ber. On Wed­nes­day the Swedish team also claimed the 2016 RC44 Match Rac­ing Cham­pi­onship ti­tle.

Once again em­pha­sis­ing the high level of com­pe­ti­tion in the RC44 class, Team Aqua was the only cam­paign to win two events this sea­son.

Just four points sep­a­rated the fourth to seven placed boats at the fi­nal sea­son’s tally, demon­strat­ing how close the rac­ing was even in the mid-fleet and how vi­tal it was to achieve a good re­sult here in Malta.

The RC44s re­turn in 2017 with the So­togrande Cup over 27-30 April.

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